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Protecting Children at the Border: What You Can Do

     

The horror of the actions being taken by the Administration to separate families seeking asylum at the border has left many in shock and disbelief, horrified and wanting to take action. The president signed an order ending the practice on Wednesday, but details remain unclear on when that will occur and what will happen to the thousands of children already separated from their families. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) and 17 other mental health organizations sent a letter to the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Health and Human Services, urging the administration to immediately end its policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S. border.

The letter states that “children are dependent on their parents for safety and support. Any forced separation is highly stressful for children and can cause lifelong trauma, as well as an increased risk of other mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In addition, the longer that children and parents are separated, the greater the reported symptoms of anxiety and depression for the children.”

Below are a few things you can do now to make your own voice heard:

Write the Administration

Use APA’s online form to send a letter to President Trump condemning the policy and urging him to reunite the separated families. APA has pre-written the letter for you, but you can make edits to the text to personalize the message.

Contact the Department of Homeland Security

Email DHS Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen at DHSSecretary@hq.dhs.gov or contact via Twitter: @SecNielsen. You can also leave a message asserting your disagreement with the department's policy of separating families on the Department of Homeland Security comment line. The number for the DHS comment line is 202-282-8495.

Join the National Day of Protest, June 30

While there have already been many local protests, there is a national day of protest against the separation policy scheduled for June 30.

The main demonstration is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. Organizers include the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the ACLU, MoveOn, and many others. Learn more here.

Find events near you at Families Belong Together.

Speak up on Social Media

#FamiliesBelongTogether #EndFamilySeparation

The APA urges an immediate halt to the policy of separating children from their parents. “As physician experts in mental health, the American Psychiatric Association opposes any policy that separates children from their parents at the United States border,” said APA President Altha Stewart, M.D. “Children depend on their parents for safety and support. Any forced separation is highly stressful for children and can cause lifelong trauma, as well as an increased risk of other mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).” Read more.

     

 

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